Hoang Thi Thom, 40, and Dinh Thi Tu, 37, residents of Loc Binh District in Lang Son, told the police that they were hired by a man to take eight Chinese into Vietnam via the land border near Chi Ma Border Gate in the province last Sunday. They were paid VND250,000 ($11) each.
The man contacted them via phone, they said.
The two women assigned tasks for themselves: Thom would leave first to give a heads up and Tu would follow later, bringing along the whole group of eight Chinese.
As Thom arrived at the border, Tu called her, telling her to pick up one more Chinese man waiting to be taken into Vietnam. It was agreed that the man would pay them VND330,000.
As the whole group, Thom, Tu and the nine Chinese met up eventually, they were caught by border guards.
Several cases of Chinese breaking into Vietnam illegally have been detected in Vietnam in recent days, prompting public worries about the implications including the spread of Covid-19.
On Tuesday, the Ho Chi Minh City’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said eight Chinese and one Vietnamese found illegally entering Vietnam had been sent to a quarantine camp where they will have their health checked and samples taken for Covid-19 testing. From May until now, the city has detected 29 such illegal immigrants.
Authorities in Ha Tien Town of Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam said the same day that they had detected six Vietnamese residents returning home illegally from Cambodia.
The six, including three children, are residents of southern Soc Trang Province. They had gone to Cambodia to visit family members and tried to get back home via Ha Tien without having to spend 14 days in quarantine as required of every person entering Vietnam from abroad.
On Monday, 10 Chinese citizens who entered Vietnam illegally were detained along with four Vietnamese accomplices in Lao Cai Province, which borders China.
Earlier this month, a criminal probe was launched into three Vietnamese for brokering illegal entry after they helped four Chinese nationals cross the border into Lao Cai Province.
Last Saturday, Vietnamese police arrested a Chinese man involved in a ring smuggling Chinese nationals into Da Nang and the neighboring Quang Nam Province. Authorities have found 73 Chinese nationals illegally entering Da Nang and Quang Nam via unofficial routes over the past few days.
To curb the spread of Covid-19, the country has banned entry by foreign nationals since March 22 with exceptions and conditions, including 14-day quarantining on arrival.